Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Factors associated with the desire for orthodontic treatment among Brazilian adolescents and their parents

Leandro S Marques12, Isabela A Pordeus1, Maria L Ramos-Jorge3, Cid A Filogônio2, Cintia B Filogônio2, Luciano J Pereira2 and Saul M Paiva1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Av Antônio Carlos 6627, Belo Horizonte, MG, 31270-901, Brazil

2 Department of Orthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, University of the Rio Verde Valley, Av Castelo Branco 82, Três Corações, MG, 37410-000, Brazil

3 Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Public Health, Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys, Campus II, Rodovia MGT367 5000, Diamantina, MG, 39100-000, Brazil

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BMC Oral Health 2009, 9:34  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-9-34

Published: 18 December 2009



In the period of adolescence physical appearance takes on significant importance in the construction of personal identity, including one's relationship with one's own body. A variety of social, cultural, psychological and personal factors influences the self-perception of dental appearance and the decision to undergo orthodontic treatment. Adolescents who seek orthodontic treatment are concerned with improving their appearance and social acceptance. The aim of the present study was to determine factors associated to the desire for orthodontic treatment among Brazilian adolescents and their parents.


The sample consisted of 403 subjects aged 14 to 18 years, selected randomly from a population of 182,291 schoolchildren in the same age group. The outcome variable "desire for orthodontic treatment" was assessed through a questionnaire. Self-perception of dental aesthetics was assessed using the Oral Aesthetic Subjective Impact Scale (OASIS) and the Dental Aesthetic Index (DAI) was used for clinical assessment. Statistical analysis involved the chi-square test as well as both simple and multiple logistic regression analyses.


The majority (78%) of the Brazilian adolescents desired orthodontic treatment and 69% of the parents reported that their children were not in orthodontic treatment due to the high costs involved. There was significant association (p ≤ 0.05) between the desire for orthodontic treatment and most types of malocclusion. However, there was no significant association between the desire for orthodontic treatment and the variables gender and age.


The following were considered factors associated to the desire for treatment: upper anterior crowding ≥ 2 mm and parents' perception of their child's need for treatment.